Unlikely combination, Rebel Salute gets fizz from Pepsi
Published: Sunday | December 13, 2009
There will be five extra letters in the name of the huge annual concert at Port Kaiser Sports Club, St Elizabeth, when it is presented on January 16.
However, the positioning of the five letters indicates that they are hugely important, not only to the concert's organisers, but also the company which has decided to put them there.
In the first year of a three-year agreement, Rebel Salute will be officially Pepsi Rebel Salute.
Jahyudah Barrett of Flames Productions, which produces Rebel Salute, said Pepsi was interested in the product itself. Plus, Pepsi's new image was significant.
It is the first time Rebel Salute has had a title sponsor since Tru-Juice last had its name up on the marquee in 2007. "The whole economic crisis put everyone on the down-low. They were being careful how they spent their money, so it has been hard to get a title sponsor," Barrett said.
The sponsorship is in cash and kind and Barrett said "they are doing a whole lot with regard to Rebel Salute".
Rebel Salute made the first move. Barrett said, "We are always trying to take advantage of all the sponsorship we can get." She pointed out that producing the concert was very expensive and every effort had also been made to keep the entry fee affordable.
The pre-sold price is $1,400 and it will cost $1,500 at the gate.
Kenya Barrett, also of Flames Productions, said that transportation costs to take everything to Rebel Salute were enormous. And while it would have been possible to put on Rebel Salute 2010 without a title sponsor, Jahyudah said, "It would have been hard to do that. Because we see Rebel Salute has a purpose and people look forward to it every year. We would have found the funding somewhere to hold the event."
"People may come and say 'crowd big'. But people might not know it is a matter of keeping the show going, so it has a purpose," she added.
Jahyudah said while there were alcohol and meat companies willing to provide sponsorship, they were not in line with Rebel Salute's stance, which stipulates no alcohol and no meat. Also, Flames recognised that there would be difficulty in securing sponsorship through the accustomed avenues, as alcohol and meat are part and parcel of most concert and party experiences.
Still, Kenya said, "Rebel Salute is far ahead in what it is doing, so they are not picking up as yet. It is hard for them to buy into the idea." And, they pointed out, they were not saying that people should give up their curried goat and stewed beef, as you can simply "eat it before you get there. You can have your juices on the way down".
happy with Pepsi
Alcohol and meat are sold outside the venue by many of the huge number of vendors who flock Rebel Salute and, inevitably, some will be sneaked in.
They are happy with Pepsi's involvement, Jahyudah saying that Pepsi marketing manager Denise Dixon "is in tune with the whole concept that is supported by Rebel Salute". Kenya added: "She sees the potential of what it can do, not only for South Manchester but Jamaica."
In a press release, brand manager for Pepsi Jamaica, Ayanna Kirton, said the sponsorship "... also provides Pepsi with an opportunity to increase its visibility with our new-look products".
Jahyudah does not see any compromise in Rebel Salute's principles by having a soda company as title sponsor. "We said no alcohol, we said no meat, we said no drugs, we said no weapons," she said, ticking off the noes on the fingers of one hand. "Pepsi's products do not fall into these categories."
Soda has never been barred from Rebel Salute.
"We said 'healthy lifestyle', but it is a concept. It is about what you put into your body and that which is supposed to enhance your bodily functions, but we are against the alcohol, the meat," she said.
Jahyudah also pointed out that Pepsi also had a water product and Tropicana juice.
They reiterated that Rebel Salute was about cleansing body and spirit for one night.
Rebel Salute has been at Port Kaiser since 2000, and there will be changes in the physical infrastructure at the event as part of the renewal process. Looking further than January 16, Jahyudah said: "We want to turn it into something huge, and that depends on sponsorship. Because we have them (Pepsi) for that length of time, we can enhance that goal.
"It has the potential for greater good to the Jamaican economy. Is reggae put Jamaica on top," she said, quoting her father and the father of Rebel Salute, Tony Rebel.